NGV opens new Australian Impressionism exhibition

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has just opened a large-scale exhibition celebrating the revolutionary Australian Impressionism movement of the 19th Century.

She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism features 270 artworks drawn from major public and private collections, including the work of famous artists such as Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Jane Sutherland.

NGV Director Tony Ellwood said the exhibition explored the impact of personal relationships, international influences and the importance of place on the trajectory of the movement.

“She-Oak and Sunlight draws on the rich legacy established by the NGV’s previous Australian Impressionism exhibitions, as well as proffering new research and discoveries that have only recently come to light,” Mr Ellwood said.

“The exhibition will address the truly revolutionary nature of the movement, as well as the social and cultural contexts that defined this period of rapid change and transformation in Australian art history.”

Curated by Dr Anne Gray with the NGV Australian Art Department, the exhibition includes highlights such as Tom Roberts’ iconic Shearing the rams, 1890, which depicts sheep shearers plying their trade in a timber shearing shed.

Other important works featured include Clara Southern’s An old bee farm, Warrandyte c.1900, a nostalgic vision of the landscape, painted in a soft palette of twilight tones.

After efforts to collect the work of women artists from the period, the exhibition will also introduce audiences to important new works by May Vale, Jane Price and Ina Gregory.

For fans of international art, She-Oak and Sunlight juxtaposes the work of Australian artists with the work of Claude Monet, Alfred Sisely and others to highlight the broader global context of the movement.

But keeping the national focus, the exhibition will highlight the many forms of Impressionism in Australia, including painting the landscape outdoors and the rich legacy of the artists camps at Heidelberg.

She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism will run from April 2 to August 22, 2021 at The Ian Potter Centre •

For more information, visit ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/she-oak-and-sunlight

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